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A Dirty Dozen with KINGS NEVER DIE – April 2023

| 23 April 2023 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Today, Northeast hardcore titans Kings Never Die premiere the new video “Stay True” at the Hardcore Worldwide YouTube channel. The track is the second to be revealed from the band’s highly anticipated debut album, All the Rats, sets for international release on May 26th via Metalville Records. Hailing from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, Kings Never Die walk the line between positive, uplifting messages and dead-serious subject matter. A musical and lyrical mix of hardcore, punk, metal, with chat or sing-along vocals: in the band’s words, “We love making music together, and this is what gets spit out.” Kings Never Die are comprised of members Dylan Gadino (vocals), Dan Nastasi (guitar/additional vocals), Danny Schuler (drums), Larry Nieroda (guitar), and Evan Ivkovich (bass).” We get Dan and Dylan to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Dan: I think it’s about being honest, real and heart. Our hope is people identify with the songs, the messages in the music and its memorable to them.

Dylan: You could certainly call it a hardcore record. But if you’re a fan of big hooks, catchy choruses, and loud, heavy songs but know nothing about hardcore, you’re still going to find a lot to love.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Dan: Interesting question… I will say that I was always fascinated by albums, the vinyl, the packaging, I would stare at them for hours, every detail. I loved KISS when I saw them, larger than life characters, then the songs were memorable. “Black Diamond,” then the Destroyer record top down. I then started listening to a wider range of music. The Doors were huge in influencing me to the groove of a song. ‘I’ll tell you ’bout Texas radio and the Big Beat,’ “Break on Through,” and “Five to One.” Then I found Black Sabbath… etc. I learned to play guitar by learning Ozzy’s Blizzard of Ozz. But as far as being a musician, I think I wanted to be a song writer or at least create my own sounds and lyrical ideas. Once I found Metallica & most importantly The Dead Kennedy’s I started writing my own songs musically and lyrically about what a 16-year-old kid thinks about. Non-sense, Political satire, Funny stories etc. That ultimately became the first few Muck Pup Albums worth of material in 86-90. As I grew up basically traveling, I really wanted to start writing about Life, a more serious approach and by that time was heavily influenced by bands we loved like Leeway, Murphy’s Law & Agnostic Front. I also really loved the beat or feel of Hip Hop, Public Enemy and then Ice Cube, who is the master in my opinion. That writing style contributed a lot to Dog Eat Dog’s Warrant EP and All Boro Kings era 91-94. The rest is a long story up until this point with Kings Never Die.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Dan: Leeway’s Born to Expire & Sick of it All’s Just Look Around, the first Murphy’s Law Album was huge as well and Jimmy may be the greatest front man I ever witnessed. I’m not big on arena shows, it’s just not personal. I wanna see the sweat drip off someone and know it’s real, look at them in the face a know what they say, they truly mean.

Dylan: I think Appetite for Destruction is the greatest rock album of all time. I’m not sure how much that album guided me, but I just wanted to get that out there. In my 20’s, I was a huge Snapcase fan. That’s the band that got me into hardcore. Snapcase shows were therapy to me. High energy and positive. I didn’t mind getting kicked in the head a few times if it meant being up against the stage and screaming all the lyrics.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Dylan: Nathan Gray (Boysetsfire/Iron Roses). He’s a goddamn poet and, to me, sings like an angel. Recording vocals with him would be amazing.

Dan: We’ll, we just did a track with Jotham Oliver from Wisdom In Chains on Good Times And The Bad EP that was one for sure, as well as “Raise a Glass” with Vinnie Stigma. I love doing colab’s, another perspective or to create a track with outside input you wouldn’t normally have. Lyrically, I love Terror and especially the last three albums vocally. I’d say Scott Vogel. I’m not sure I could actually write Terror style Music, it is incredible, But I would love to have the experience of putting a track together.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour?  What do you like to do to unwind?

Dylan: I’m a huge baseball fan. During springtime, you’ll find me either playing baseball or watching every Mets game on TV. During winter I mostly stay inside, sulk, and bemoan being alive.

Dan: I still coach High School football. It’s a passion and a great escape mentally for me. I love the thought and the chess match aspect of it. Love the relationships with the players etc. Other than that, I love to cook and of course spend as much time with my wife Sheila and our kids whenever we can all get together.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Dan: Real & Honest, From the Heart. Period! As far comparisons, that’s all good, that’s what music is, different in everyone’s eyes or mind. Honestly, the only thing that has made me cringe that I’ve seen is the term, “supergroup” that is just not true and it makes my skin crawl a bit. Ha ha I look at it like, I’m grateful… I love the people I am lucky enough to play and write music with. I love what we are doing and enjoy being around these guys. Ultimately, that’s what’s important. I feel blessed.

Dylan: We play loud, fun, aggressive music with big choruses. I don’t think I’ve read anything about KND that’s made me cringe. But, then again, I don’t know how to read.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Dylan: Nastasi would cook, Larry would handle drinks. Nastasi would also break out the acoustic, but it would be to show everyone one of the 750 songs he’s in the middle of writing.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Dylan: I don’t really get starstruck. I do get excited to see artists perform that I’ve never seen. I went to a Cancer Bats show for the first time a few months ago. Always loved them but never got to see them. That was cool. I bought a T-shirt and then wore it in the “Stay True” video.

Dan: Agreed, I’m not big on Starstruck etc. I feel bad when recognizable people have to deal with people staring etc. It’s creepy. But, If I could meet someone, I’d love to meet Tony Iommi. He is THE RIFF MASTER OF ALL TIME!!

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Dylan: The best part is having the privilege to perform in front of people. To have the chance to express yourself openly onstage and to make a room full of people FEEL something. That’s the best. Other than that, I don’t really have a dream job. I’m open to suggestions.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

Dylan: How many tattoos do you have? Answer: zero. I’m not tired of answering any question yet. Ask me again in a few years.

Dan: Yeah, I’m good with whatever. I’m happy to speak on whatever anyone wants to know. I’m always just gonna tell it how it is and whatever it takes for people to have the opportunity to listen to All The Rats I’m down.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Dan: I generally don’t think like that, But I wish I didn’t record the solo album in ‘95. It was rushed, Not thought out and honestly, my head was not into it.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Dylan: The Real Thing by Faith No More. Other than being one of the greatest records of all time, it’s an album that proved you could sound completely different than anything else and still write great songs that appeal to millions of people.

Dan: I dig Dylan’s answer, but I’ll go a step back and say the first Faith No More Album Introduce Yourself with Chuck Mosley on vox. That is the best album by FNM in my eyes. It’s a classic. Even “We Care A Lot” was dope.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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